Observations on Air Travel

I spent a LOT of time in airports and on airplanes this past week. No matter how prepared you think you are, and no matter how many experiences you have had, there are always things that surprise you. And of course, there are always constants as well. Here are a few of my observations on air travel.

Crying babies on airplanes are literally the worst.

I know that in most cases, it’s not the baby’s fault, and it’s not the parents’ fault. Babies cry. I get it. But on our flight from Reykjavic to Copenhagen, there was a toddler seated right behind us who pitched a fit nearly the entire flight. It was one of those obvious “I’m not getting my way so I’m just gonna fake cry and scream” kind of things, and the parents didn’t do ANYTHING about it. They pretty much just let him have a hissy fit, and I wanted to murder them all.

Scoring extra leg room with the seats by the emergency exit is totally worth the responsibility of getting the doors open should the worst happen.

Ben and I are usually pretty cool under pressure, so I think that if the plane went down, we’d be able to get the door open and usher our fellow passengers to safety. Especially because our legs would be nice and limber from all that extra stretching space.

Other countries have much more civilized security procedures. 

You are not required to have a full-body x-ray or pat-down, and you don’t have to take off your shoes; just walk through a metal detector. However, if you set off the metal detector, you are 100% subject to a pat-down. I learned this the hard way when I forgot to take off my road ID 😦

Seatmates usually suck.

They snore. They invade your personal space. They smell. They want to chat when you just want to read or sleep. But sometimes, you get seated next to a 50-something Danish Dead Head on his way to San Francisco for the last ever Dead concert, and that’s pretty cool.

Airport food is expensive and crappy.

Seriously, a tiny tray of sushi in the Reykjavic airport was the equivalent of $22 USD. A smoothie was $7. Crazypants. Pack snacks and bring a water bottle to save yourself the money and disappointment.

Scoring a full length bench to sleep on is like winning the lottery.

I don’t know what it is about airports, but most of the seats have arms, which makes it impossible to stretch out for a nap between flights. But in Copenhagen, there were a multitude of benches, and we were able to get a nice 5 hour nap before exploring the city. It was excellent.

What’s your favorite part about flying? Least favorite part?

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25 thoughts on “Observations on Air Travel

  1. txa1265 says:

    As a parent I find myself simultaneously more AND less patient with people who have kids … because we have ALL had ‘that kid’ at one point, but at the same time a key is developing strategies and boundaries.

    But at the same time I am very slow to ‘get judgy’ and quick to help out … last week we gave a mom who was struggling a full travel pack of tissues and I had a bunch of extra napkins I gave her as well. It was funny, she was over her head with the little ones – including one who just threw up – and when we said ‘excuse me’ I think she expected to be lectured, so when we gave her the clean-up supplies her eyes lit up 🙂

    But for me the worst people are those who seem convinced they are the only ones who matter or exist … and that includes what Laura said about carry-ons!

    • DarlinRae says:

      I’ll be the first to admit I get judge-y pretty quick, but I try to be as patient as I can. It was a mercifully short flight, so I was grateful for that, at least 🙂

  2. allisonfiorini says:

    Omg…the crying kids on a plane – my last two flights. I wanted to scream. I’m not a mom so maybe I just don’t get it, but I feel like I would try to do any and everything to try to make it stop!

  3. Brittany says:

    I sooo envy your extra leg room and armrest-less seats for napping- both things I could have used this weekend!
    Thankfully, being a children’s librarian, I automatically tune out about 95% of unwanted child-related noises I come across. I am programed to go “No one’s hurt or lost? Then I don’t care.” lol awful but true

  4. Fallon @ Slacker Runner says:

    I haven’t been on a plane in years but I can usually tune things out and fall asleep fairly quickly. That’s pretty much my solution to all travel issues- let someone else drive and sleep through it. 🙂

  5. kristenk says:

    Ugh I HATE flying! I just flew to Seattle for a work trip, and on both flights I lucked out and had the seat next to me be unoccupied! Usually I’m right in front of a kicking kid or loud snoring dude!

  6. SuzLyfe says:

    Exit rows are everything. Compression socks make the world go round, and does bringing your own food, when you can. I prefer an aisle seat so that I can go to the bathroom without having to climb over people. And if you are making weird noises, I will destroy you.

    • DarlinRae says:

      Yes, aisle seats are my preference, but Ben loves the window, so unless we want someone sitting between us, I usually end up in the middle seat 😦

  7. Anna @ Piper's Run says:

    It’s hard traveling with little kids. We flew with our oldest when she was 6 months old and it was my worst nightmare to have her cry/scream etc. Luckily she was pretty good and I was able to nurse her a lot to keep her calm. As a parent of a screaming/crying kid – it’s not fun either (guilt, embarrassment and frustration take over).
    Airport food is expensive which is frustrating since you kinda have to eat! I love people watching at airports – that’s fun!

    • DarlinRae says:

      I totally understand that 95% of the time, there’s nothing a parent can do about an upset child, it was just my perception in this situation that the parents could have done more. Maybe I’m just being a judgmental jerk 😉

  8. dgobs says:

    My favorite flying experience was actually my first time flying overseas, and I was by myself. I think the lady at the check-in desk could tell I was nervous and bumped me up to business class for free – score! Kind of related to that… I flew back from CA yesterday and was so annoyed that the crew reserved an entire bathroom for first class (a whopping 5 passengers) while the rest of us (a full flight) had to share the other one. Wouldn’t have been too bad except the crew kept getting angry with people for standing in the aisle as they all waited their turn. Really??

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